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Prevalence and Predictors of Adolescent Alcohol Use and Binge Drinking in the United States

Publication Abstract

Patrick, Megan E., and John E. Schulenberg. 2013. "Prevalence and Predictors of Adolescent Alcohol Use and Binge Drinking in the United States." Alcohol Research: Current Reviews, 35(2): 193-200.

Because alcohol use typically is initiated during adolescence and young adulthood and may have long-term consequences, the Monitoring the Future (MTF) study annually assesses various measures of alcohol use among 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students. These analyses have found that although alcohol use among these age groups overall has been declining since 1975, levels remain high. Thus, in 2011 about one-quarter of 8th graders, one-half of 10th graders, and almost two-thirds of 12th graders reported drinking alcohol in the month preceding the interview. Binge drinking (i.e., consumption of five or more drinks in a row) was also prevalent. Specific rates of drinking, binge drinking, and getting drunk varied among different student subgroups based on gender and race/ethnicity. The MTF study has also identified numerous factors that influence the risk of alcohol use among adolescents, including parents and peers, school and work, religiosity and community attachment, exercise and sports participation, externalizing behavior and other drug use, risk taking and sensation seeking, well-being, and drinking attitudes and reasons for alcohol use. Drinking during adolescence can have long-term effects on a person's life trajectory. Therefore, these findings have broad implications for prevention and intervention efforts with this population.

PMCID: PMC3908711. (Pub Med Central)

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